Pop music: the most annoying, tenuously linked product pushed via the World Cup.


Pop music: the most annoying, tenuously linked product pushed by the World Cup

You know what they say about the World Cup, don’t you? It’s best enjoyed whilst eating a Mars Bar! Of course it is. Boys kicking balls and sickly confectionary have gone hand in hand since…pfft…God knows. May, I think. Yeah, May 2010 sounds about right, when every advertising brain realised that football’s biggest tournament can be used to flog not just hats, scarves and flags, but sausages, washing up liquid and bins.

Curry’s picked up on it first this year, with their less-than-subtle, ‘Why don’t you buy a new TV to watch the World Cup on?’ campaign. Yeah, you’ve gotta have a big screen for the big game. You don’t want to be a massive gaylord, with a normal sized telly, do you? Well? And you should upgrade that green, non-football-y wheelbarrow you’ve got too. Homebase are selling them with England crests on now, because there’s nothing like celebrating the World Cup than weeding the garden. Boys kicking balls and gardening have gone hand in hand since…pfft…May.

While this crude annoyance continues to repeat itself, ensuring that the World Cup remains the impressively all-consuming, omnipresent thing that it is once every four years, music’s connection to football seems almost valid by comparison. The truth is that it’s just the oldest whore in the stadium, inspiring everyone from Mars to McDonald’s to go on the game, like a wealthy Madame of a career advisor.

Perhaps once, a long time ago, it could be argued that the beautiful game and popular music were suitable bedfellows. Nostalgically, that would have been when New Order released ‘Loves Got The World In Motion’ – a song title that to this day is rarely beaten for its sense of optimism and unity – although for others it’ll be Waddle and Hoddle’s ‘Diamond Lights’, or ‘Vindaloo’, perhaps. But even then, the reason the two got on so well was pinned on a rather tedious geezers-like-to-sing angle.

Music is part of football culture, it’s argued, because the terraces wouldn’t be the same without a verse of ‘Three Lions’. Well, they wouldn’t be as dated, I suppose, but sure, there is some weight to that – a silent football ground would be no fun. And bands, like Kasabian who are currently sponsored by Umbro, love football and music, we’re reminded, with little reason to argue against such a point in Kasabian’s case. But so fucking what? Some bands don’t like football, while some poets love a kick around and all that goes with it. The fact is that most people like football, or the World Cup at least. Some are in crap bands, some are in good ones and some aren’t even in bands at all. And yet the two can never be separated, which has oddly resulted in popular music’s involvement in football being more annoying than a chocolate bar wrapped in a St. George’s cross. James Corden and Dizzee Rascal’s cover of Tears For Fears’ ‘Shout’ certainly is – a song suitably premiered on idiot-fest Britain’s Got Talent, on which the two perpetrators were joined by fifty obese bald blokes jumping around and reminding us all that geezers in fact like shouting, not singing; chants, not pop music.

So maybe, if we stop considering football to be so important that music – the most transcendent form of expression on earth – was created for it, all of these other, unrelated products wouldn’t be telling us that the game can’t possibly be worth a thing if you’re not eating McNuggets at the same time as watching it. But, then, what do I know? My TV is two years old, and my wheelbarrow is green.

By Stuart Stubbs


Originally published in issue 18 (vol 3) of Loud And Quiet. June 2010

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